17 Iulie 2015 Lasă un comentariu
If the stated imperatives of critical thinking do not necessarily render anything real in the world, anything remembered, then critical thinking can amount to mere mental exercise, a sensation that wisps away like the fading afterglow of a brisk walk or bike ride. The metaphor of a physical workout is more than simply convenient. In puzzling over the phrase, I asked my composition & rhetoric colleague Kate Adams for her suggested reading, and Kate directed me to John Bean’s seminal work Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom, first published in 1996 and republished in subsequent editions.
Bean’s study launches from the basic assumption that humans are naturally problem-solving creatures: “Presenting students with problems … taps into something natural and self-fulfilling in our beings.” Citing Ken Bain, Bean asserts that “‘beautiful problems’ create a ‘natural critical learning environment.’” As Bean goes on to claim, “Part of the difficulty of teaching critical thinking, therefore, is awakening students to the existence of problems all around them.” The aesthetic terms and environmental rhetoric in these sentences are striking. They hint at a quasi-Nietzschean philosophy, with their overtones of self-fulfillment and awakening in a raw, natural environment. As if to reinforce this ambient attitude, Bean goes on to elaborate: “As Brookfield (1987) claims, critical thinking is ‘a productive and positive’ activity. ‘Critical thinkers are actively engaged with life.’ This belief in the natural, healthy, and motivating pleasure of problems—and in the power of well-designed problems to awaken and stimulate the passive and unmotivated student—is one of the underlying premises of this book.”